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tv   [untitled]    April 19, 2011 3:00am-3:30am PDT

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>> welcome to the budget and finance committee. when supervisor campos arrives, we will have a special meeting of the board. -- when supervisor kim arrives. just a quick announcement, we have an overflow room that has been said up. that overflow room is in 263. you will be able to follow up on the public comments. we just want to make sure that people want -- to know that we have an overflow room. do we have any announcements?
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>> please turn off all cell phones. if you present any documents, please provide a document to the clerk for the file. >> would you call item number 1 and 2. >> number one, ordinance amending the part code article 12 by amending 12.46 to extend admission fees to the botanical garden for non san francisco residents be on june 30th, 2011, eliminate the provision canceling this admission fee for the recreation and park department receives revenue for a new tax that can be used for botanical garden operating and maintenance costs.
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number 2, ordinance appropriating $195,000 of the general fund from a new property transfer tax and reducing the botanical garden ft reviews, which will be rescinded as of march 17th, 2011. >> these were called at the same time because this would extend the fee. the second item is a supplemental that would move money from the same general fund over to the department in order to reduce the fee revenue. those two items are linked. we have the sponsor of the legislation here, supervisor avalos. we will likely go with the comments from supervisor avalos and other members of the board that would like to speak to this. following that, we did go to the recreation and parks department and then the budget report. >> thank you.
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i would like to thank members of the committee. this is a very tough issue for me but i feel that where i am bringing forth today was a solution and i had anticipated in previous years, this is the first time that the botanical garden entrance fee has come before the board of supervisors. i was really concerned about what the impact would be. the intended participation of the residence of san francisco of the botanical garden. i was really concerned that we see less participation in the garden and there will be barriers to people participating in their enjoyment of the site. last year, we had the same
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debate all over again with the arboretum. the same feat was brought forward. it was a difficult decision on whether or not i would approve or reject the fee. i ended up approved in the feed at that time. the fee would only last a year. in that time, we would collect information from the rec and park department of the to the attendance and revenues generated and that his feet was worthwhile to have. -- and that the feefee was
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worthwhile. this is hard to administer. attendance is down. perhaps this is not worth the trouble. the other amendment that was made was that if the city was to win revenue on the ballot, we had a couple of measures at the time that were going forward. one was a temporary increase in the hotel tax. the other measure was to increase the real estate transfer tax. the real estate transfer tax past. there was a measure that passed, we would use a very tiny portion of the proceeds from the revenue to be able to replace the nonresident feet. that was the only way that i would be able to support the fee which was to replace that feed with revenue that we got at the
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ballot. my reason for looking at the revenue solution was because i really believed that as a city, we need to find a way, the recreation and parks department is not the atm that it has been used as. they have to find ways to find revenue in ways that the public often is very very uncomfortable with. we can avoid that by finding better revenue sources for the rec and park's department. my interest in bringing a small part of the tax was to help with that problem which is often rated at during our budget deficit. that is what it would be today
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with him with -- working with the recommendations and others concerned how we can find a cost and revenue stream which will protect the rec and park department in the years to come. in my district, i don't have the richness of services that a lot of other districts half. i see the botanical garden as something that has that meeting for people in my district -- that means for people in my district. the real estate transfer tax is at $35 million. that is the estimate that it will bring in every year. this is an annual increase that we can expect to have every year. i realize that we have a budget deficit, the revenue increase.
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at the same time we are looking at sources of revenue for the rec and park department. it makes sense that we can use a little bit of the revenue to be able to make the enjoyment of our facilities at much greater. i believe in something that is really meaningful to people all across san francisco. we will use a small portion of the proceeds of the transfer tax that can go to rec and park or the administration of the botanical garden. people would like to have a free entrance to the botanical garden. lastly, my first time coming to san francisco, i went to the botanical garden. my first time coming to san francisco was a magical experience. to come here at the age of sit -- at the age of 20 and to see
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the beautiful city that we have. this was really something that was part of my experience. my first impression was that -- was something i would never forget. i visited the huntington library gardens in pasadena. this is something that is much more intimate of and experience. that had a major impact on why i feel people are drawn to this city and really enjoy what we have for the rack and parks facilities. i know that we have had many people who will be talking about the fee. i and a stand why everyone is here and wanting to protect the services that are here. i do believe that we have a solution. we can use a portion of the proceeds from the real estate transfer tax. we can move forward without the
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fee in years to come. there were many people who work on this transfer tax. many people who are proponents of getting rid of the sea, proponents of the free botanical garden have to recognize their work. -- many people who are proponents of getting rid of the feed -- the fee. there was a lot of work to make sure that we could pass these measures. there was a lot of belief that we would be able to get rid of the non resident fee. that is a big reason why i supported it. we would be able to win the money to prevent the fee from being enacted in future years. i expect we will have a very robust discussion about this but in the and i hope that we can agree that the fee is not the best way to go for the enjoyment of our facilities and the
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botanical garden. i would like to thank supervisor ross mirkarimi for his opposition last year. we were on different sides of the issue then. i feel that i made a wrong choice. given the difficulty of this year out perhaps eliminating the fee, i feel that i have made the wrong choice. your advocacy and your particular -- because it exists in the district, member constituents are the ones who use the facility often day after day. >> thank you supervisor avalos. >> i want to take a quick minute to acknowledge our former president of the board. i wanted to acknowledge his presence. [applause]
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with that, let us go to our department presentation. >> can we display the overhead? thank you. good afternoon, supervisors. the recreation and park department is requesting that you support the legislation that would extend it mission to the botanical garden for non san francisco residence beyond june, 2011. this is a policy choice that gives us no joy. when faced with daunting budget cuts that severely impact our mission to keep our parks clean
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and safe and our recreation centers open and inviting for families, this is a policy choice which is necessary. all around city hall, people are here because they are concerned about the city's ongoing general fund deficit and its impact on the life of its residents. we are asking you not to cut from rec and park a budget solution in which a non san franciscans, 15 million of home visit the city each year as tourists will help subsidize the cost of basic services for the people who live here. the budget challenges that they san francisco are not unique to the city nor is the devastating impact on the urban park systems. in houston, budget cuts will force the city to close half of its recreation centers.
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the los angeles park department expects hundreds of layoffs. seattle has curtailed ball field maintenance, and restroom maintenance. baltimore shut half of its recreation centers. the city of detroit closed 77 of its parks. every urban parks system around the country is scrambling to offset service cuts and inadequately -- and inadequate city funding with revenue. denver is increasing its mission in its parks. seattle has nonprofits operating in its recreation centers.
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staffed with just three gardner's. for the last 56 years we have been aided by the support of the san francisco botanical garden society, a nonprofit member- supported organization. the san francisco botanical society only exists to support garden operations and activities. since 1995 the organization has supported the city with $9 million in direct gardening expenditures. $6.8 million in educational programs connected to its library, youth program, and volunteer program. on average, the botanical garden
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society has supported this city, the parks department, and our botanical garden with approximately $1.6 million in services. those services include a program whereby 10,000 school children from all over the city participate in educational programs at the garden each year. overall it will look 30,000 school-age kids visit the botanical garden. taking part in two hours, story time walks, and treasure hunt. students learn lifelong lessons on sustainability, conservation, and ecology. in lieu of cuts last year, the department proposed an admission fee. it was not the first time that the admissions chart was
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compensated, discussed, or propose that the gardens. this goes back about 20 years. many neighbors had passionately resisted admission fees, logically wanting free and unfettered access. last year the department proposed, and this board ultimately approved a compromise. san franciscans would continue to access the botanical garden for free. for free. we would only charge non-san francisco residents. $5 for seniors, $2 for children between 5 and 11. the board asked that we adopt a family rate. san franciscans continue to have free admission.
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again, it gives us no pleasure to charge anyone for anything. when the twist comes down to keep in the rec center open for the families in the tenderloin or charging visitors from lafayette for africa to visit the museums attraction, the decision is clear. almost all comparable botanical gardens charge admissions. for residents and non-residence. including the botanical garden in denver. brooklyn, new york. new york city, new york. santa barbara. pasadena. even berkeley charges admission fees. the most comparable garden in san francisco is probably the los angeles county arboretum. municipally owned with similar
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nonprofit partners, they charge residents and non-residents to enter. the botanical garden in seattle, known as the university of washington botanical garden, is not a municipal facility. another free garden is in washington, d.c.. paid for by congress. chicago, we have a hybrid. that would mission, but charge -- but they charge $20 to park. here in san francisco, admission is charged for golden gate park that the japanese tea garden and the conservatory of flowers. in golden gate park but also charge to enter the academy of sciences and other major museums and attractions around town,
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including the exploratory them, moloch, and white tower. i will turn the presentation over to our director of finance and administration. even with anticipated start of challenges, we expect a gross between $350,000.400000 dollars this year. one quarter of a million dollars. -- $350,000.400000 dollars -- $350,000 and $400,000 this year. >> as phillips said, i am willing to talk about the framework for the admissions program. staffing.
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revenue expenditures and attendance. then i will take just a quick minute to respond to the budget analyst report on this item. the department entered into a grant agreement with the botanical society in august of 2010. amongst other things, it required the botanical society to remit all admissions revenue collected to the department on a weekly basis, which they do. under the terms of the agreement, the society invoices the department for eligible expenses. invoices include backup documentation by payroll records and copies of bills and are reviewed by accounting staff. staffing for the admissions program includes three fte, a larger number of people, ticket takers that earn $11 per hour,
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and one of a supervisor burning $14 per hour, as well as a portion of the botanical society staff to provide accounting and financial services for the program. we staffed two dates in the garden, selling tickets from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the winter. and 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. in the summer. staffing the admissions program at the conservatory of flowers is less than what it costs the department to run the single ticket booth at the japanese tea gardens. if you can see, this slide summarizes revenue and expense and the admissions program to march. through march the program has generated $231,000 in revenue,
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with total expenses over $166,000. as with other department programs, like golf and the japanese tea garden, admission and revenue numbers at the botanical gardens are sensitive to the weather. as you wallow, the city experienced record days of rain in february and march of this year. it rained for 20 days in golden gate park. depressing attendance at all of park attractions. last week, the department shared revenue figures with the budget analyst office based on what can only be characterized as an abysmal month, projecting only $355,922 in revenue through the end of the year. it turns out the first four days in april have been spectacularly
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beautiful and attendants exceeded all expectations. based on those april numbers, projections through yesterday look like the garden is on pace to grow $380,000 in total revenue this fiscal year. as you can see from this chart, in order to ensure the department and the city has $250,000 in debt revenue, the botanical society has agreed to absorber any net negative costs in the current fiscal year. unfortunately, they will be unable to do this if the fis sun sets in the current fiscal year. the goal is next year, as projections show, there would be no need for subsidization. current year revenue projections are based on the assumption that we will hit between

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